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NGOs welcome Labor's Pacific proposals.

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Bob Sercombe MP Federal Labor Shadow Minister for Overseas Aid and Pacific Island Affairs

NGOs welcome Labor’s Pacific proposals

Non-governmental organisations in the Pacific and Australia have welcomed Labor’s Pacific Community proposals.

“The Pacific Community is a wonderful idea. Regional institutions must work at all levels, not just with governments, if they are to succeed in their aims. These proposals reflect this need to work at all levels, and they include a number of mechanisms to

promote participatory democracy,” said Ms Cema Bolabola, Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations.

“Towards a Pacific Community has an expansive vision for a Pacific that gives proper attention to gender equality, human rights, democracy and justice as essential goals,” said Ms Imrana Jalal, Human Rights Adviser, Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team.

“The Pacific Community concept proposed by Bob Sercombe is to be applauded for the prioritisation it gives to Pacific women’s voices, through the establishment of a long overdue Pacific Women’s Centre,” said Ms Cate Morriss, Secretary of the Pacific Islands Political Studies Association.

“The in-depth consultative process that has been undertaken in the development of this new Pacific policy has been most welcome. The frank and open dialogue has been appreciated,” said Ms Neva Wendt, Policy Coordinator for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Australian Council for International Development.

“This has enabled extensive discussion of ways to deepen Australia’s relationship with our Pacific neighbours and has involved critical exploration of important issues such as Australian labour mobility for Pacific islanders; school and sports exchanges; and the enhancement of cultural appreciation,” Ms Wendt concluded.

“The NCCA Christian World Service… is very encouraged by a number of the proposals addressing opportunities and challenges in the Pacific and Australia’s role. I believe the churches of the Pacific would welcome discussion of these important issues,” said Alistair Gee, Director, NCCA Christian World Service.

“We have very much valued the input from NGOs throughout our consultation process. We look forward to continuing to work with them to implement these proposals,” said Bob Sercombe, Shadow Minister for Overseas Aid and Pacific Island Affairs.

29 September 2005

Contact: Bob Sercombe 0412 392 538